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Bonjour Françoise: France in thrall to Sagan | News | guardian.co.uk Books
She was a hedonistic, tomboy beauty who drove racing cars barefoot round Saint Tropez, won literary acclaim and took so many drugs that her pet fox-terrier overdosed from sniffing her handkerchiefs.

The novelist Françoise Sagan may have died leaving a debt of more than €600,000 (£470,000) after tax evasion and corruption scandals, but she is enjoying a surprise revival as France indulges a craze for historical literary women whose work, life and bedroom antics challenged the norm.

With an acclaimed new biography, a memoir by a female lover, a cinema biopic and the reissue of nine of her books for the first time in years, the literary magazine Lire has predicted 2008 will witness Sagan's literary renaissance. Le Figaro called her "the woman of summer 2008". Even the news weekly L'Express this week ran a fashion special on how to dress in her trademark blue-jeans and moccasins.

Sagan's debts and scandals ensured that the years before her death in 2004 were spent in misery as the taxman hoovered up every last penny. Her estate was such a mess that publishers did not want to touch many of the more than 40 novels, plays and essays she wrote, and they fell out of print. Her son, who now looks after her legacy, is hoping that Sagan-mania, and a potential Hollywood adaptation of her first novel, will prompt enough interest to allow her to be published again for a new generation.

by Fran on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:19:42 AM EST
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